Cover image by Mirko Tobias Schaefer (flic.kr/p/5vBCdn). Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
What is the essence of sound design?
It is widely accepted that individuals who are visually impaired develop the ability to hear heightened detail and extract deeper levels of information through their other senses, in which hearing/sound is a large part.
For many of us, the sounds we regularly design are for the distinct purpose of supporting, and enhancing the context of (often moving) images within a larger media project such as a film, or a video game.
This month, Designing Sound would like to take away any potential (visual or otherwise) “crutches” that we lean on when designing sounds and consider what sound design is at its core, in its purest form, and without any visual aids to help (or distract) us. This a month to reflect on, and explore the depth, and meaning, of “pure” sound design.
As always, we here at Designing Sound encourage our community (and yes, that means you) to contribute an article for this month’s theme, or any sound design related topic that may be on your mind. Your contributions, and added perspectives are a large part of what keeps this site vibrant and fresh. So please, keep reading, thinking, and writing about sound design, and anytime you would like to contribute, just contact doron [@] this website. Thank you for being a part of our community.
Michael Raphael has been recording and releasing high res sound effect collections for sound designers and editors since 2010. His site Rabbit Ears Audio covers such diverse sonic ground as Hind Helicopters, train whistles, and typewriters. In a recent collaboration with Audio Director Rob Bridgett he has released a new library called Port of Call and they’ve kindly offered to give us some insight into its creation. Many thanks to Michael and Rob for this contribution. (more…)
Many thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Dyck
Gordon Durity is the Executive Audio Director of the EA Audioworks team, which supports the audio development of the upcoming Need for Speed release available on November 3rd, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One (PC due in the spring of 2016). I’d like to extend my thanks to Gordon for sitting down to chat with me.
Brad Dyck: Could you describe some of the responsibilities you deal with day to day?
Gordon Durity: I look at all the titles that I’m in charge of – all of the sports games, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies and mobile products just to keep track of where everything’s going as far as audio content and quality. I do R&D as well, looking at where our technology is headed, what’s out there competitively, what we’re building in-house, what we need to build for emerging platforms, and what we need to re-factor to make things work better. Because we’re a central team, I spend time with the senior leaders of the titles we service whether it’s FIFA, Madden or Need for Speed, just to make sure that we’re completely aligned with our dev partners. (more…)
In an appropriately seasonal blog post over at A Sound Effect, Asbjoern speaks to Saro Sahihi of SoundBits, a boutique SFX library and sound design company. Saro, who has released some excellent gore SFX libraries, goes in-depth on how to achieve some truly squishy, wrenching, and disgusting gore sounds for all your horror needs. He even touches on some other horror mainstays, like how to achieve a good jump-scare sound, or crafting dark ambiences.
Head over to A Sound Effect to check out the whole article!
Did 20 years go by that quickly?
Image retrieved from the Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks Tumblr (parody site): http://windows95tips.com/page/3
User Interface sounds are a breed of their own. Some clearly represent their actions, such as the epochal ‘door opening’ to indicate a contact has logged on or the equally attention-grabbing announcement that “you’ve got mail,” which rationalized why you had to tie up the phone line another five minutes. Other sounds attempt to bind emotions to their actions; the wistful start up themes for Windows 95 and Mac OS assured you this is the future in their grounded, yet contemplative, chords. Whether literal or metaphorical, UI sounds are calls-to-action, sometimes to a Pavlovian degree, where this causes you to glance at your charging cable and this makes you think you’ve bumped your thumb drive. But when it comes to professional audio branding, how are these concepts used to evoke ideas such as ‘clean’ and ‘trustworthy’? (more…)
Opening Day of the 135th AES Convention in NYC.
Photo retrieved from http://www.aes.org/blog/2013/10/135th-aes-convention
It’s that time of year again! If you’re attending the 139th AES Convention next week in New York City, come join us at 8:00 pm on Thursday, 29 October at Alfie’s Bar and Kitchen, located at 800 Ninth Ave on the corner of Ninth Ave and W 53rd St. If you plan on stopping by, please RSVP using the form at the end of this article. If you are not attending the AES Convention, but you live in the NYC area, stop by anyway! (And please RSVP.)
For those unfamiliar with the AES Convention, the event runs from Thursday, 29 October to Sunday, 1 November at the Javits Center at 655 W 34th St. The Free Exhibits-Plus badge gives you access to the show floor along with Special Events, Project Studio Expos and Live Sound Expos. The All Access badge allows you to experience everything the show has to offer except tech tours. Remember, if you reserve your All Access badge before 26 October, the pass will be $25-$100 less than purchasing one on-site.
And if you haven’t yet planned which panels and events you’d like to attend, the AES schedule can be found here.
See you all soon!
Considering the newest Plants vs. Zombies 2 release has the word “mixtape” in the name, there was never any doubt that music would play a big role in the game’s experience. And as anyone who closely follows PopCap Games and their audio obsession, they’re not a company that does something halfway when it comes to sound or music. That’s why its a real treat that PvZ2 Neon Mixtape Tour audio lead Damian Kastbauer sat down with EA to discuss in depth how the team approached the variety of musical styles that appear in the new release. As always, the PopCap audio team has gone to great lengths to make a fun and immersive audio experience within the game, so be sure not to miss how they did it!
In addition, Damian has included some examples on his Vine page of some of the beat-syncing in action, both sounds-to-beat sync and animations on-the-beat.
So last weekend I was on vacation in Atlanta with my recently proposed-to fiancee. In addition to going to a Ghost show, zoo, and the aquarium; we hit up the World of Coke.
The World of Coke museum is less of a museum and more of a huge advertisement for Coca-Cola beverages. From getting funneled in a short guided tour of memorabilia and then getting herded into a huge theater to watch a 7 minute commercial for Coca-Cola, the entire experience feels very much targeted at emotion, sentimentality, and and nostalgia.
The most interesting thing to me about the visit throughout the museum was the lack of actually seeing the brown liquid. Outside of a miniature working version of the Bottle Works, where you get to see them bottling Coca-Cola, you don’t *see* it. However, you certainly hear it. (more…)
Rob Bridgett is an audio director at Eidos-Montréal.
Leonard Paul is the president of the School of Video Game Audio.
Images courtesy of Rob Bridgett & Leonard Paul
Nine years ago, we collaborated on an article on the idea of limitations for Gamasutra and wanted to see where our thoughts would take us. This time around, rather than produce another article, this submission is a set of our musings meant to be used as starting points or inspiration when working with the limitations of game audio.
Allowing a view of the long-term in our art gives a certain freedom but it can also be paralyzing unless we set limits on ourselves.
An exciting, creative challenge is one with well defined limits: a well defined brief; a box to play in.
Not only do technical limits advance but also creative limits as well.
Working within a genre is a form of self-limitation (style and structure, for instance, “we’re going to write a 3 minute pop song”). A platform/format is a limitation: 12 inch, an LP (two sides), a CD (long running playlist). We need to consider the equivalent boxes and structures in games (menu, mission, genre, format, art style).
Earlier this month on a rare rainy Bay-Area day, I sat down with composer and musician Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) to discuss last month’s theme of “Restriction”. Rich is best known for his work in video games having composed music for “Fez”, “Bit.Trip Presents: Runner2”, “Gunhouse” and the forthcoming “Mini Metro” and “Hyper Light Drifter”. Most recently his score to the critically acclaimed motion picture “It Follows” received unanimous praise.
Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) – photo credit Nika States